Last week, we kicked off the third round of the AtomLeap High-Tech Accelerator with two new promising teams that are developing high-tech solutions to improve event experience — Based Global — and to create more inclusive virtual workplaces — Tribe.
In order to introduce the new participants to the followers of this blog, we sat down with them and asked them a few questions about themselves and their solution. Below are team Based Global’s — that is, co-founders Tristan Littlejohn’s and Benjamin Bendig’s — answers. Happy reading and stay tuned for our interview with team Tribe next week.
In your own words, what does Based Global do?
Ask any live music fan what they think about the practice of ticket scalping and the response will almost certainly be the same as the one you’d get from artists, venues, and record companies alike. It’s a problem that has pervaded live music and events for decades now. Scalpers, touts, power brokers, call them what you like, these actors are the participants which make up the secondary ticket resale market. This market generates upwards of $8 billion dollars per year while delivering little to no value back to the music ecosystem. Secondary ticketing does create open free market dynamics, however resellers are often criticized for their use of deceptive tactics, such as using bots to grab all the tickets before real fans, producing counterfeit tickets, and super steep price hikes.
Blockchain technology offers solutions to these ticketing issues, as well as various other issues an artist faces. Based Global is utilizing the blockchain to build a platform and decentralized application (DApp) that eliminates counterfeit tickets and puts resale market control in the hands of the artists and their teams. With ticketing done in a transparent way, artists can now focus on building direct-to-fan communities (that are so valuable to any artists’ career) in an incentivized and organic way, where both fans and artists profit.
What problem are you addressing and why is it important to address it?
In a nutshell, Based Global balances supply and demand and obviates fraud. Live events have become crucial to artists’ ability to make a living. And while the numbers behind ticket sales say one thing, fans are confused and frankly pissed off. That is because, when buying tickets, fans are presented with infinite choices. Just type into a browser your favorite artist’s name + tickets and you will often end up on fake sites posing as legitimate sellers. This is where the confusion starts. Oftentimes fans don’t even know where they are buying their tickets from.
The ticketing market can be broken down into two distinct segments. The primary ticketing market and the secondary ticketing (resale) market.
The primary ticketing market is where artists, their teams, and content creators release their initial tickets, set initial prices, and partner with ticketing companies. The latter help the former promote shows while providing ticketing solutions. Artists then receive profits minus fees and fans receive real tickets at face value. Due to the high demand and scarcity of many of these popular events, however, the primary market has struggled to set prices effectively. As a result, opportunities have emerged to arbitrage tickets, making it economically viable for secondary actors to enter the market and hack it.
Though ticket scalping isn’t anything new, in a high-tech age where computers do the heavy lifting (instead of guys screaming ‘tickets’ outside of a venue), fans are more often than not beat by bots. Specialized ticket-buying software brokers or power sellers (scalpers/touts) are able to grab tickets before a normal human can. With tickets routinely sold out in minutes and a stressful ticket buying experience, fans are increasingly left feeling disenfranchised.
In what ways will Based Global help streamline and improve event ticketing?
Based Global works with blockchain to reimagine event discovery and access and we take our mission to heart. But blockchain has become a buzzword that so many people use, but don’t fully understand. So let’s first go over the basics of what a blockchain is.
Blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing amount of data (commonly transaction data) grouped into so called blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and is cryptographically signed (“fingerprinted”). The signature of the previous block then becomes part of the data stored in the current block, thus linking blocks together into a chain secured by cryptography. Also, each recorded transaction can be made to comply with a digital ‘smart contract’ that defines the market regulation rules. So, in effect, blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that validates and records transactions on thousands of computers globally. This means the data (or smart contracts) cannot be altered retrospectively, as one would need to compute new signatures and blocks for all the existing blocks, as well as for the new blocks coming in during that time, faster than the entire network combined.
Every digital industry has an interest in blockchain. It is the basis of cryptocurrencies, such as the Bitcoin. Chinese giant Alibaba intends to use it to combat food fraud. And the R3 consortium of banks wants to use it as an auto regulated ledger. And now we can look to apply it to the ticketing industry.
The blockchain-based ticketing that Based Global is working to create takes a holistic approach, whereby artists (and/or their teams) are at the center of their own experience economy. This means that artists (teams) have complete control over their ticketing experience and counterfeit tickets are a thing of the past. But best of all, when everybody eats, everybody wins! Artists can create incentivized communities where both fans and artists have a stake and are motivated in ways only limited by the artists’ (teams’) imagination.
Through this new ticketing experience, the engagement process between artists and fans starts from the time a fan discovers a gig. Our platform will help artists amplify their efforts, giving them tools that offer more customization and control, make fans excited about attending events, and create incentivized, transparent, and distinctive experiences.
What prompted you to found your own company?
We are fans of live events, technology, and big ideas that bring people closer together. Based Global was started to realize the vision of bringing artists and fans together and creating collective experiences. Looking into the not so distant future, it becomes clear that the transfer of value systems from one person to another (peer-to-peer or P2P) will create new opportunities which do not involve so many middlemen, save time, and are fairer, all the while maintaining transparency for both businesses and consumers and offering ways for both sides to create and share value. We believe in decentralization as a new way to drive meaningful interactions and leave an impact on many industries of tomorrow.
Where in the ticketing experience can one place Based Global?
We are currently shifting from web 2.0 to web 3.0. This shift will largely go unnoticed by the vast majority, as we will have the same user experience we are accustomed to. The power comes from a shift in how we use the backend to leverage more value, while reducing costs and becoming more efficient. Take the payment methods that people are using currently. Typically, we go through payment service providers/credit card companies, banks, or indeed still PayPal. These are the entities that are responsible for getting the money and making sure it is moved properly, but also keep any theft from happening in the transaction. The large costs and security that is required is what has kept the fees so high for these companies.
Banking and currency transfer are logical first steps for a new system to transfer value without having to trust a third party. And we are starting to see the same shift in many other industries. The music industry in particular has seen a lot of bad deals hurt people (Napster) and is looking to embrace technology this time around instead of fighting against it. We will see systems that address issues around royalties, copyrights, streaming, collaboration, and, last but not least, ticketing. Based Global is making partnerships with artists, labels, cashless payment providers and other members of our wider eco system to pioneer a viable way forward that protects fans, is transparent, and delivers value back to artists.
Who are the people behind Based Global?
At the moment, our team is comprised of two co-founders, though expanding it is one of our short-term goals. Tristan Littlejohn, our CEO (photo above), is deeply passionate about business, communications, design, and brand building. His interests have seen him not only start his own small businesses, but work for multi-million dollar brands such as Caesars Casino, Red Bull, and Kraken. His endless curiosity lead him to become a developer, because he is thus able to mix business with technology in order to positively impact people’s daily lives. Throughout his career, Tristan has valued interpersonal communications and connecting with people. These values prompted Tristan to start Based Global, which at its heart stands for connecting people around live experiences.
CTO Benjamin Bendig is a developer with over a decade of experience in tech and industry. Before joining Based Global, he worked as a lead developer at a blockchain fintech startup.His love for learning, logic, and problem solving lead him to study physics, mathematics, and chemistry. One of his biggest passions is to help students achieve their goals through education. In his free time, you’ll find him tutoring and mentoring students across Berlin.
What are your goals for the AtomLeap High-Tech Accelerator program?
In the next six months, we are looking to articulate our product and business plan, to develop our prototype, validate it, to attract our seed funding round, and to onboard new team members and partners. We obviously need help to roll out all of these initiatives and we are looking for the AtomLeap High-Tech Accelerator to support us during this exciting, but challenging time of our startups’ evolution.